Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Dinner and the dead rat

I’m a lucky woman.

I’m a lucky woman because I cook about 4 times a month – and one of those times is fish fingers or pizza, and husband cooks the rest. It’s an easy deal, he likes cooking – I like eating, he likes me eating his cooking – everyone is a winner!

But in the September issue of Marie Claire, there was a plan for a 3 course dinner. Accompanied by what to wear, listen to and even what candles to burn at said meal.
The editorial was splashed with perfect pictures of wonderfully dressed food, all set off by a happy and serene looking lady called Gizzi Erskine.

It seems that when cooking her 3 course meal, Gizzi doesn’t even break a sweat. Looking at the photographs, she is a domestic goddess and accomplished hostess. That is what I was aiming for, domestic goddess and accomplished hostess, finished off with a little black dress and wonderful, relaxed conversation.

I invited J-Bob and L-Bob round, after J-bob revealed that in our 10 year friendship I had never actually cooked for her. So I figured it was about time! They agreed to come round at 8, which by my calculations gave me an hour and half to get the desert and main ready, cooking the started when they arrived.

I realised on the day that I didn’t have all the ingredients, but it was OK – because being my mother’s daughter I had built in some emergency time. I swung by Tesco on the way home for a quick trolly dash. This left me just enough time when I got in to get in the kitchen and marvel the Bob’s and husband with my inner and suppressed domestic goddess.

As I ran through the door into the living room to dump my bags, one of my cats rushed out under my legs and out of the cat flap. A little dazed by this, I went to pick the bags back up …..and then saw it. A rat. A rat as big as horse, dead on my living room floor. Not on its own either – oh no. Like some twisted romance, Romeo the rat was accompanied by Juliet - the dead mouse. “Shit, shit, shit, shit!”

So I had a little sit down, for about 15 minutes while I worked out what to do without Husband here to be heroic and chuck out the “presents” I had been left. Driven by the project, and knowing this was the only night I could cook this meal for the Bob’s I mustered up some courage to wrap plastic bags on my hands and dispose of the evidence.

Then on to the cooking. First thing first – A large glass of wine.

I then proceeded to cover the kitchen and unwittingly my boobs in chocolate, whilst I created a Rosemary scented caramel and chocolate tart – oh yes, Nigella would have been proud.

Then on to the main, lemon and sage butter chicken kievs from scratch with spaghetti and sauce. After a good fight with the chicken it started to conform to something that looked vaguely like the picture. I lost my rag at one point and beat up the breast with a rolling pin, then regained my composure and managed to create some sort of kiev like parcels.
By the time it came to making the starter, I was covered in food, bright red, a bit pissed and very manic. J-Bob couldn’t take it any longer, being the head of a catering GCSE, watching me run round the kitchen like a rabid housewife was too much and she took over, allowing me to go and slip into my little black dress.

An hour after I said the food would be ready, it was served. The starter, (Scallops on cauliflower pure with an orange and saffron butter) was DELICIOUS. The main was yum and the chocolate cake – Oh my goodness, I wanted to climb into it and roll around in it.

J-Bob was very proud of me, apparently for someone that doesn’t cook – to cook a 3 course meal after work is a big deal and I did Ok, even if I had slightly lost the plot by the time I had reached the starter.

But unfortunately I was not the image of composure and a domestic goddess as I had hoped. More a slightly pink, pissed mad woman but luckily J-bob and L-bob wouldn’t expect it any other way.